History of West Silvertown
West Silvertown, in the London Borough of Newham, is named after Samuel Silver who brought his waterproof clothing factory to the area in 1852. By the 1860s, a number of chemical works and petroleum depots had also taken root.
The area’s success was further boosted by the opening of the Royal Docks. The Royal Victoria Dock opened in 1855, followed by the Royal Albert Dock in 1880 and the King George V Dock in 1921. These were a huge commercial success, remaining London's principal docks during the first half of the 20th century and only closed in 1981.
The area contains many reminders of its historical past. The Tate & Lyle sugar refinery is still an important and active landmark, for example. Today, the area looks very different though. The industrial landscape has progressively given way to new residential developments and public spaces.
West Silvertown today
Today, our community is bordered by Victoria Dock, the River Thames and the Connaught Bridge. It includes Thames Barrier Park – a 22-acre green space with attractions for all the family including a café.
It is also very near to London City Airport and ExCeL, the international exhibition and conference centre. There are two Docklands Light Railway stations on the doorstep, popular with the area’s growing number of commuters.
The Royal Wharf community of 3,300 homes is one of the latest developments along the riverfront with a new school, health, leisure and community centres. Newham Council has also given planning permission to The Silvertown Partnership for a new £3.5billion redevelopment of the area. When complete, this will provide offices, a tech hub and 3,000 new homes.
How we came about
We think the area around Britannia Village is beautiful. The sun rises over the river Thames, beams over the iconic structure of the Thames Barrier, and sets behind the shining towers of Canary Wharf and the O2 Arena. Dinghies and ducks float across Royal Victoria Dock with the cable car running behind. The Thames Barrier and Lyle parks buzz with life all year round.
However, West Silvertown is also an area of inequality and challenge. One of the things we love most about our unique community is its diversity, not least in terms of ethnicity, language and age. But it is also very unequal in terms of household income. The area and its population are also constantly changing and evolving as regeneration gathers pace. This brings its own challenges as the disparities between our local neighbourhood communities increase.
West Silvertown Village Community Foundation was born in 1995 to help break down the barriers our unique area faces, to help the most vulnerable and to support a healthy, vibrant and sustainable community, which benefits everyone.
|1994||Work begins on an initial 85 new homes, in what would later be called Britannia Village. The following year, further land is allocated to build 777 private homes and shops|
|1995||West Silvertown Village Community Foundation is born|
|2005||Bridges Community Project opens up The Hub in the Village Hall, providing parent and toddler and children’s groups|
|2007||WSF takes over management of Britannia Village Hall and starts refurbishment|
|2008||Our ‘I love BV’ summer scheme opens and youth club begins|
|2014||Oasis Academy Silvertown opens in Britannia Village Hall|
|2019||WSF takes over management of Royal Wharf Community Dock|
Did you know?
Silvertown is featured in a song by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame. Silvertown Blues describes the area before redevelopment.
In the TV drama Upstairs, Downstairs Ruby leaves service with the Bellamy family to work in a factory in Silvertown.
The film 28 Weeks Later was partly shot in Silvertown near the Tate and Lyle factory and at London City Airport.
In 1917, an explosion at the Brunner Mond factory, which was used to purify TNT during the First World War, killed 73 local people and destroyed 900 homes.
You can watch Spiderman in action at West Silvertown’s Millennium Mills in the film Spider-Man: Far From Home.